To the dismay of contractors, construction input prices saw nearly a 1% increase in April over the prior month, with a substantial increase in pricing year over year (YOY) at 2.4%. On May 9, Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) reported price hikes in four of 11 subcategories in April, while seven declined.
According to ABC's analysis of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data, crude petroleum saw the highest month-over-month (MoM) increase by nearly 14%, followed by unprocessed energy materials, prepared asphalt products and concrete products. However, there were some MoM price drops in other subcategories, including natural gas, iron and steel, and steel mill products.
"Even though April was the third consecutive month that input prices increased and overall materials prices remained elevated, there is little reason for contractors to be on high alert," ABC Chief Economist Anirban Basu said in the report. "The increase in materials prices was primarily driven by higher energy prices. In particular, the price of oil mainly rose for political reasons, and therefore is not an indication that materials prices will aggressively increase."
The largest price decrease YOY was seen in softwood lumber at roughly 12.5%, while prepared asphalt, tar roofing and siding products increased by 7.5%.
—Andrew Michaels, editorial associate